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Literature / Division by Zero

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"Life is a punishment. The world has no goal. You are God pretending that you are not, reliving the same life over and over and over and over again until you have gotten it right. You have the omnipotence to execute your will, to be whatever you want, but do not possess the might to immediately become nothing. Poor girl."
Wren, (iii. i'm drowning here on solid ground / i'll step lightly lest I grow tired of the search for the cure for apathy, was it her?)

Division by Zero is a Science Fantasy web serial novel written by Solange Salgado. On the surface, Division by Zero is about Kohana Outtaike, a 15-year-old, Afro-Asian girl note  from Earth who finds herself in the middle of a multiversal, eons-old cosmic war. What she thought would be a night of sneaking out, setting up shop in a tree, and stargazing at 4AM turned into a fight for her life against an Eldritch Abomination that goes around destroying planets for fun. She is guided through the battle by Hiroyuki D'Accardi, an alien from another universe who came looking for her, and is then told that she is both a cosmic weapon and his planet's military general. Things only escalate from there: the Earth is being invaded by Shadows, and Kohana is being hunted by Death.

Being a Magical Girl has never been so stressful, except that's the least of Kohana's worries.

Things escalate further under Division by Zero's surface. The multiverse Kohana must save is the rotting body of God. We are all accidents in the universe and our existence is totally arbitrary, having the same significance as bugs in a much grander struggle between cosmic forces that Kohana finds herself taking center-stage for.

There is a complete absence of a divine presence in the multiverse, and we are insignificant in the larger scheme of intergalactic existence. Perhaps we humans are just a small species projecting our own mental idolatries onto the vast cosmos, ever susceptible to being wiped from existence at any moment by some thing that could destroy the multiverse with no preparation, intent, or effort, with the same ease it takes for you to step on an ant.

In short, either Kohana wins, or the multiverse is fucked.

Kohana also happens to be partial to eggs.

This story contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Growing up, Kohana was respected for strength, assertion valued over compliance. She quickly found it necessary to close down, to be savvy, aggressive, to be a good opponent, and to learn to oppose. It's difficult for her to have a relationship with someone she cannot push up against due to her poor relationship with her father. She's awake to aggressive ploys: manipulation, passive aggression, and withholding information seem to be just as aggressive to her as honest anger. She meets covert hostility with direct confrontation. Kohana's father is a deadbeat dad, with intermittent servings of verbal abuse and why-don't-you-inherit-my-legacy-that-I-worked-hard-for?
  • The Ace: Isleen is brilliant, but she can disappear for days and reappear without explanation. She habitually answers questions in a narrow, noncommittal manner and does not volunteer more than what's required. She hoards time, space, energy, and access to herself. What you get are signals of superiority and secrecy—intellectual arrogance, an appearance of being above emotional expression and beyond the need to explain herself.
  • Action Bomb: D'ivoire can cause explosions on contact.
  • Admiring the Abomination: The sole reason why the Commander doesn’t stop Isleen from killing what is implied to be hundreds of Spectrian soldiers gathered to watch Kohana fight in the training facility. Hiroyuki believes the Commander invited people to the event because he knew something disastrous would happen and intended to use innocent people as guinea pigs to what he was hoping to be a catastrophe created by Kohana. What he got was unexpected but far better, Isleen showing her true nature and turning those Celestial Beings into various eldritch abominations, of which the Commander did absolutely nothing about and safely observed. At the end of the chapter, the Commander is pleased with what took place and doesn't seem at all bothered about what happened.
  • All-Loving Heroine: Zigzagged. Kohana's emotionalism stems from the deeper, more submissive depths of her nature. She suppresses her softer feelings which makes it difficult to recognize her own needs. She finds it easy to offer protection and to stand up for justice but difficult to remember what really matters. She can be excessively generous, romantic, and attentive just as she can suddenly withdraw that support.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Hiroyuki and Jinnouchi's conversation in the school reveals that Hiroyuki has known who the umbrakinetic is all along and has both chosen not to say anything to Kohana about it and to do nothing about them. When questioned about this, Hiroyuki refused to answer her.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: Clotho is the multiversal manifestation of life, but is indifferent to life and even the multiverse itself. This is exactly what makes Clotho so dangerous. She does not care to act morally. Her consciousness is seared, her heart is hardened. Indifference has utterly replaced her feelings of guilt, allowing her to commit heinous acts beyond the comprehension of even the most morally-confused beings in the story. Her being sensitized to moral pangs scares the absolute shit out of Alpha because she does have a pure heart, she does have a good sense of judgement, and she is of sincere faith. So why is it that she can destroy a universe simply because she has become bored of it, or erase an entire galaxy in an attempt to save one planet from destruction? Clotho is truly innocent, and that is why she is the most feared, powerful being in the story.
  • Anti-Hero: Hiroyuki is an insidious type of antihero in that he carries himself with a sense of humbleness that makes him unusually easy to get along with. He has a fuzzy, slightly out-of-focus feel about him due to harmonizing with others and rarely asserting himself. He mediates well, is sensitive and open to the perspectives and viewpoints of others, but is extremely brutal and unforgiving towards his enemies. A fight with him will always be a Curb-Stomp Battle, or even Single-Stroke Battle. Hiroyuki knows being good requires the wherewithal to be harsh and cruel, and he is cruel beneath his affability.
  • And I Must Scream: Vasche, who becomes a part of Kaede's body, whose own body then turns against itself and kills him.
  • Animal Eyes: Kohana has cat pupils.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Comes with the territory of Kohana being a universe-destroying weapon. She has decided to use her powers for good, however.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Gender Flipped: Kaede becomes this to Kohana when it is revealed she is the umbrakinetic. She played the role of an over-affectionate parent just to make Kohana's breakdown all the more sweeter when she realizes how she really is. Because Kaede is the umbrakinetic, the two of them are destined to be enemies. Kaede expresses a long-standing dislike towards the Celestial Beings, and Kohana has decided she will stop Kaede from destroying the Earth (and any other planets she and her Shadows come across) as Spectra's general.
  • Back from the Dead: Juniper has Complete Immortality and resurrects every time she dies. Wren is even seen casually eating one of Juniper's corpses just before Isleen punches a hole in the newly-resurrected Juniper's chest and eats her heart. When you keep in mind Wren's cannibalism and the fact that Juniper is being used as a tool by her to lure people into Wren's domain, this is definitely not the first time Wren's eaten Juniper. Juniper has become quite blasé about dying and doesn't seem too bothered by it.
  • Badass Army: The Special Operations Force is composed out of the top 20 or so soldiers in the Academy that were not able to become the Advisor. Because only one person can become the Advisor, these soldiers are just as strong as them, if not more so. When the SOF appear in the story, they arrive on earth to rescue Kohana and Hiroyuki after the latter's ship is destroyed by the umbrakinetic. They are competent enough to hold their own against Shadows, with one of them going as far as to Wow Cthulhu.
  • Bad Boss: The Commander. When Vasche is killed by the umbrakinetic on Earth, Hiroyuki and D'ivoire have a brief discussion about whether or not they should bring what's left of his corpse back to Spectra. Apparently dying on another planet is as severe as treason, and the Commander would punish them for making him even look at Vasche's corpse. Vasche is never mentioned again, even after everyone returns to Spectra. It's like he never existed.
  • Barrier Warrior: Kohana is fond of creating space-time barriers.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Kohana has desperately wanted to meet aliens for years. She meets Hiroyuki. She has been crying every chapter since.
  • BFS: Kohana's sword, the Star Stealer, is a 7'4" ōdachi.
  • Big Bad: Kohana spends the first few chapters fighting Shadows and searching for the umbrakinetic, only for the umbrakinetic to be her mother Kaede, the second named villain in the story after Jinnouchi.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: It has been said many times that Kohana is capable of destroying universes. Hiroyuki is almost certainly protecting everything else from Kohana rather than it being the other way around.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Blaire isn't fond of Spectrians for their tendency to fight everything that moves. In explaining this dislike to Kohana, she mentions she is smarter than the average Spectrian and would never stoop to such lows. She also refers to members of the SOF as rejects but is a member of the SOF herself.
  • Brutal Honesty: After Kohana tells the SOF she won't abandon the Earth, Blaire bluntly tells her she is too idealistic and reminds her she can't change anything, dead or not. This happens again during the two's meeting with the Commander where Kohana is upset Blaire keeps saying the Earth is dying. Blaire snaps back and tells Kohana she won't sugarcoat anything she says to her and insist she be honest with herself instead of getting comfortable in her idealism.
    Blaire: What do you want me to say? That it's alive and thriving? You said it yourself, the Earth has seen better days before we even got there. Listen, I'm no Hiroyuki. I'm not going to tiptoe around your feelings or let you continue to say nonsensical things. If I have to play Advisor for the day, you're going to get it raw. You need to come to terms with the fact that the Earth is gone. The sooner you can put it behind you, the sooner you can focus on what lies ahead. It gets worse from here. You haven't seen anything yet.
  • Bullet Time: As the Summoner of Time, Kohana's mind and body process information at such absurd speeds that time slows down, enabling her to perceive what would normally be too fast to see and respond accordingly. She is able to perceive events with unwavering focus and avoid linear attacks with incredible ease.
  • Bungled Suicide: Kohana suffers from depression, though how much of it is influenced by her new life as the Summoner of Time and the life she left behind remains to be seen. She is also histrionic, as in, she has histrionic personality disorder, which was proposed by Hiroyuki early on in the story and confirmed by the author. Due to being histrionic, Kohana does not cope well with any type of loss or failure, exacerbating her already-severe depression. After several suicide attempts, she finds that she cannot kill herself as any human would because she is not human, and at one point obsesses over finding a way of killing herself that will work.
  • Cain and Abel: Alpha and Omega were not only brothers, but twins created by the All-Creator to live with it in Zero—One. Warring against each other, the All-Creator, caught in their crossfire, was torn apart, its pieces making what is now the multiverse. Alpha and Omega created the First Universe inside of the multiverse to honour their fallen creator. Alpha brought Order to the First Universe, whereas Omega birthed Chaos, two sides of the same coin. Somewhere along the line Alpha believed Omega to be favored by the All-Creator and slew him, which brought about the second Celestial War. Alpha's betrayal emphasizes one of the problems of free will, that, when given the freedom to be responsible for oneself, the result is catastrophic. Alpha has committed the first crime in the multiverse, murder (and fratricide at that). In Alpha being consumed by jealousy, we see that even gods are not immune to anger, resentment, inadequacy, and helplessness. But we also see, with inescapable clarity, that the All-Creator will not allow this. Cain was banished from the human community for his sin; Alpha is now alone in a universe of his own creation being eaten away by his brother who is caught between the throes of life and death, neither living nor dead. Alpha's punishment? To fight an eternal war he cannot win.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Had Kohana not Refused the Call, she might have been able to prevent her school from being destroyed by Shadows. Even worse is that it is implied her mother was killed in the attack. Kohana is briefly terrorized by the very real possibility of her mother's passing, but is too blindsided by Jinnouchi being a Shadow to dwell on it for long.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Division by Zero is an LGBT+ story, so far featuring an all LGBT+ cast:
    • Kohana: demigender bisexual.
    • Hiroyuki: gnc nonbinary bisexual.
    • D'ivoire: transmasc mlm.
    • Isleen: nonbinary lesbian.
    • Masae: nonbinary pansexual.
    • Wren: genderfluid pansexual.
    • Juniper: genderfluid pansexual.
    • The Commander: nonbinary bisexual.
    • Blaire: nonbinary femme lesbian.
    • Roxandra: nonbinary bisexual.
  • Cat Smile: Kohana is prone to doing this. Kohana's doppelgänger has also shown that she is capable of doing the opposite as well.
  • Complete Immortality: The Commander of Spectra.
  • Cradling Your Kill: Hiroyuki apologies to Jinnouchi before she is 'sent away' by him.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Wednesday, a jittery, clumsy Nulleq woman who looks more dragon than mouse, is never far from Alpha's side. She was chosen by an ancient Nulleq artifact called the Eye of the Universe to care for it. The Eye of the Universe plays an important role in the war against Omega, allowing Wednesday to see where their enemies are and what they plan to do next. Wednesday is always a hair's breadth away from dropping the Eye, and when she tries it to know an unknowable, older Kohana the Eye shatters and Wednesday is devastated. She isn't devastated for long, though. She comes to the conclusion that the Eye's shattering could only be done by someone truly formidable than can lead the First to victory against Omega.
  • Determinator: One of Kohana's defining traits. She will wholeheartedly die before she ever gives up.
    Kohana: I do not try, I do. Try insinuates a half-heartedness I am not capable of. I give everything my all and then some, even if my end goal is small. I don't know how to make 'attempts.' I move heaven and earth for what I aim to accomplish.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: D'ivoire does this after the umbrakinetic kills two members of the SOF. He swoops in and blows up four of her arms with his explosive touch after the umbrakinetic was previously shown to be impervious to damage. She is suprised when this happens. She waits her arms to regenerate, and is annoyed when they don't. He then goes on to detonate himself to rub more salt in her wounds.
  • The Dreaded: The Umbrakinetic, the multiversal manifestation of death, is horrifying enough, but Clotho, the Echonianetic and multiversal manifestation of life, is explicitly said to be even stronger than it. And not just stronger, crueler. And not just crueler, the purest form of the All Creator pre-split, the closest being to the omnipotent God in the multiverse (to say she is God would be apt). This is especially interesting for several reasons:
  • Emperor Scientist: The Commander is a cold, calculating man who combines aggressive genius with charismatic authority. Both scientist and superior, he created an empire out of the ruins the umbrakinetic left Spectra in eons ago. The Commander's feats include single-handedly creating the Summoner Project and casually unlocking the secrets of immortality. Ruling Spectra with an iron fist, he has conquered an innumerable amount of universes, having 'hollowed' them of their resources, removing every star, every planet. He openly advocates selfishness and believes that civilized behavior is just a veneer concealing our true animal nature. As a result, Spectra is a dog-eat-dog world where Celestial Beings pride themselves on being unhinged. From the moment they are born Celestial Beings are taught the ways of war, and that is to say nothing of the Advisor Program which sees its applicants through horrors such as killing their classmates for weekly exams.
  • Enemies with Death: Turns out the umbrakinetic is an ancient god from another planet that is the multiversal manifestation of death capable of killing anything and everything in the multiverse outside of the Summoners who were created specifically to deal with it.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: The Commander of Spectra lords over billions of soldiers and rules the planet with an iron fist, leading Celestial Beings on star conquests that leave universes barren, not to mention he created the Summoner Project. When Kohana finally meets him, she does not hesitate to comment on his height despite his achievements.
    Kohana: So you're the guy who's in charge. Thought you'd be taller.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Jinnouchi has a calm conversation with Hiroyuki knowing he will 'send her away.'
  • Fangirl: Masae is a loud and proud fangirl for Kohana to the point where it seems like she's in love with her. She tells Kohana her admiration for her is boundless and confesses she wants to be just like her, which becomes an actuality when she accepts the Commander's offer to become a Summoner. Her love for Kohana is so strong that she sneaks onto D'ivoire's spaceship and willingly goes to another planet 'not' because her home planet is two seconds away from being destroyed, but because she couldn't bare the thought of never seeing her again.
  • Foil: Kohana and Isleen. Kohana expresses love through protection and power, pushes for contact, and is at ease with anger. She gravitates towards positions of authority and control, carrying herself with excessive-presentation—too much, too loud, too many. Isleen is preoccupied with privacy and non-involvement, preferring to watch life from the point of view of an outside observer. She values emotional control and the power of knowing, detached from love, charged with emotion. Their relationship resembles the cresting of ebbing tides: Kohana presses with oceanic force, which is checked by Isleen's undertow of withdrawal.
    • They place an enormous value on personal autonomy — freedom of action is a must. They know what they like and what they don't like, and neither is likely to get enmeshed in the other's agenda. On the high side this mutual independence of spirit allows them to speak bluntly and honestly to each other, but on the low side they are unable to compromise and have very little guilt about the effect they have on each other. Revenge plays a big role in their relationship. Isleen's withdrawal broadcasts as a loud, petulant pout, and in retaliation Kohana puts up a Do Not Disturb sign, which results in a battle of wills: "Go away, I don't need you, and I don't care."
  • Force and Finesse: Isleen is a Berserker and Kohana is a Dance Battler.
  • Forever War: Spectra and Alraera have been at war for eons over the former trying to eat one of the latter's stars. Neither side has tried to reason with the other since, and Spectra has not made another move to eat the star. The war has no foreseeable end, with Kohana being told she must find and kill the umbrakinetic. She is not told if doing so will end the war or not.
  • Freudian Trio:
  • Friendly Sniper: Masae believes the multiverse is ultimately in need of saving, that she must be helpful, and that the objective of life is to be loved and needed. Indispensability is at the root of her personality. She pays people compliments to reassure them and let them know they are special to her. She wants to be liked and is always ready with an easy smile, helpful advice, or an eager ear. One of her talents is an intuitive ability to sense what is needed, and to lovingly supply it. She plunges boldly into terrifying scenes and brings glorious hope, love, and healing with her. Never is there even the tiniest hint that anything is expected in return; in fact, she is so good at giving that the recipient never finds out where the help came from or even that it has happened, somehow encouraging the universe to shower gifts on others. She admires helpfulness, and strives to always be generous and kind. She usually knows what people need and feel, and enjoys taking on the kind of role where she can show her giving and generous nature.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Masae speaks very highly of Kohana and is constantly praising her.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Deconstructed. Kohana knows turning into a monster from fighting Shadows is a strong possibility. It is one of her worst fears, in fact, especially after what the Shadows do to her school. The Shadows' wrongdoings keep her honest and moral, as they are a constant reminder of what she could become. Because Kohana refuses to become a monster, she tends to humanize the Shadows in her narration, sometimes to a fault. While her hatred for them is evident, at times she finds herself wondering if they think of the umbrakinetic like a mother, or if they have feelings. This moral dilemma comes to a head when Blaire tells Kohana she should kill umbrakinetic and get it over with. Kohana responds by saying she won't kill them or anyone for that matter, and raises the question of how killing the umbrakinetic would make her any different from them.
  • Horrifying Hero: Isleen. Oh dear God Isleen.
  • Horrifying the Horror: When it comes to Isleen, Shadows want no part of her. During her introduction, droves of them try to run away from her after causing widespread destruction and killing countless civilians. She does not let them.
    • Chapter 10 reveals that Isleen is in fact an Eldritch Abomination. She demonstrates this by turning hundreds of Spectrian soldiers into Eldritch Abominations of varying levels of inconceivable horror simply by shedding her own human skin. Hiroyuki can't decide if Isleen being an eldritch abomination is an application of her power as the Summoner or Change—simply shapeshifting into an eldritch abomination because she is originally a wolf—or if she has always been an Eldritch Abomination who happened to make the Earth its home and was chosen to be part of the Summoner Project. In any case, this can't be good for Kohana.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Alpha and Clotho have an extreme height and size difference. Alpha is 7-foot-tall, muscular, stoic, brooding, and scantily-dressed with a Dark and Troubled Past and a deep, baritone voice that rattles your very bones when he speaks. Clotho is dainty, delicately-built, lithe, and looks like if you touched her, she'd shatter. Clotho is a solid 4'5"; Wednesday barely comes up to Alpha's waist, and Clotho is much shorter than her. To circumvent her lack of height, Clotho does not walk, but floats.
  • Ice Queen: Isleen. Kohana finds it difficult to even start a conversation with her. It does not help that Kohana instantly develops a crush on her and feels rejected when she turns down her attempts at smalltalk.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: The Celestial Beings. Kohana is heavily implied to be Celestial as well, sharing their shimmering hair and glowing eyes.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Masae genuinely believes in the Magical Girl trope and absolutely considers herself to be one. Echoing Sailor Moon, she does a Magical Gesture and tells Kohana she is evil because she wants to send her back to Earth. After explaining to Kohana exactly how she is evil, Masae utters a Pre Ass Kicking Oneliner just like Usagi would.
    Masae: I am going to punish you, for I am the Summoner of Power and I will punish you, fellow Summoner, in the name of all things good! I will right wrongs and triumph over evil! And that means you!
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Defied. Jinnouchi is revealed to be a Shadow. Not only does Kohana refuse to fight her, Isleen deals a killing blow to Jinnouchi by running the Star Stealer through Kohana and into her late instructor.
  • Immortality Inducer: Both the Empress of Alraera and the Commander of Spectra have found a way to obtain immortality. Xochiquetzal herself is the immortality inducer, having granted Eztli hers through means unexplained yet. It is heavily implied that the Commander of Spectra's immortality is Purpose-Driven in order for him to see an end to the war between Spectra and Alraera after the latter's cosmic weapon laid siege to his planet. Judging by the orders he gives Kohana after her journey from Earth, however, the argument can be made that his sole concern is the death of the umbrakinetic which is... a problem in and of itself.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Blaire challenges Masae's hero ideology when the latter says there must be another way in achieving their goals without bloodshed, while not even three seconds ago mentioning she would use force to take out anyone standing in her way. Hiroyuki agrees with this, and even praises Blaire for her pragmatism.
    Hiroyuki: Where Masae is prone to speeches of daring-do, Blaire is pragmatic, of good sense and sound judgment. Antagonistic Blaire may be, I cannot dismiss the quality of her counsel. She would have made a strong Advisor if she applied herself.
  • King of All Cosmos: Clotho is the God-Emperor of The Multiverse, a tiny, short, delicate-looking woman with the softest voice you could imagine.
  • Lady Swearsalot: T'whami has no filter whatsoever.
  • Laser Guided Tyke Bomb: Kohana is the Summoner of Time, created specifically by the Commander to kill Death.
  • The Lancer: Where Kohana proposes naïve solutions to problems, Isleen challenges them with cold logic.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Kohana can eat world-ending blasts, move faster than a blink, and is so strong she can create an earthquake by clapping her hands.
  • Love at First Sight: Hiroyuki notices right away that Kohana has a crush on Isleen, vowing to keep her crush a secret. Kohana knows and has admitted she is a hopeless romantic and falls in love easily, but this is the first time we have seen Kohana develop feelings for anyone.
  • Magically-Binding Contract: Normally Summoners are chosen to become Summoners with a device that searches the multiverse for beings that can handle having their DNA imbued with the Sentient Cosmic Force of Spectra's planetary core, which Celestial Beings flat out refer to as the All Creator (God), going as far as to stress Her omnipotence. This wasn't the case with Masae, who was offered the chance to become a Summoner by Spectra's Commander, the creator of the Summoner Project. While he does not feel the need to mention to Masae that she must either accept his offer or die as an intruder on his planet because she is already eager to jump at the call, Masae has no choice, and gleefully accepts her new life as a cosmic weapon, unwitting to the horrors that will soon follow.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: As Kohana begins to slowly descend into broody hero territory, Masae appears to defuse her depression and reintroduce her to the world of heroes and magical girls that she was once equally as in love with.
  • The Mentor: Hiroyuki to Kohana.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Kaede.
  • No Sympathy: Several of the characters have none in regards to Kohana.
    • The Commander doesn't care about Kohana still reeling over the fact that the Earth may be lost to Shadows or that she may never be able to return to it again. In fact he's eager to get Kohana on the frontlines to fight the umbrakinetic as soon as possible, thrusting her into another war as soon as she wakes up from her ordeal on Earth. When Kohana tells him her mother is the umbrakinetic, he bluntly tells her there is no way to separate the two and tells Kohana she needs to kill her mother to defeat the umbrakinetic. When Kohana tells him she doesn't want to be a Summoner anymore because of what she has to do and what she's seen, he tells her she's useless anyway and claims he would not miss her.
    • Though unsympathetic to the entire cast, Blaire is especially unsympathetic to Kohana. When Kohana expresses exhaustion over fighting Shadows and being upset at the destruction they cause and the people they kill, Blaire laughs at and mocks her. She writes off Jinnouchi's death by telling Kohana 'big whoop' and doesn't think it's a big deal that her teacher died in front of her. Blaire figures out Kohana's mother must be the umbrakinetic after spending a few hours on Earth and is angry Kohana spent months tip-toeing over the possibility when she could have slain her. Blaire holds Kohana to a high standard because she is the Summoner of Time and doesn't believe Kohana should be wasting time crying when she has the power to defeat her enemies.
    • Hiroyuki ensures Kohana is painfully aware of her position as the Summoner of Time and doesn't give her the luxary of mourning those who die. He flat out admits he manipulates and uses Kohana's hero complex against her to keep her fighting regardless of what she endures. A notable instance of this is when Kohana passes out in her school after finding the corpses of her classmates and teachers. Hiroyuki immediately wakes her up with a stern reminder of what she is and who she needs to be to prevent a scene like that from happening again.
  • Oblivious to Love: Averted. Isleen understands Kohana has a crush on her and acknowledges it by taking joy in watching her squirm and stutter. She is not interested in returning Kohana's feelings, however.
  • Offing the Offspring: Kaede tries to kill Kohana, complete with I Have No Daughter!.
  • One Bad Mother: Kaede.
  • One-Hit Kill: Clotho can destroy anything without limits. Concepts, boundaries, causation, studies like metaphysics and science, even irrational 'concepts' like the fabric of nothingness or the totality itself.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Kohana's not all too fond of her other self she meets in the training facility.
  • Parental Substitute: Right from the start Hiroyuki and Kohana have a father-daughter bond. This is especially important because she is on bad terms with her father.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: A weepy Kohana says this to Hiroyuki when the two of them reunite after their narrow escape from Kaede's attack on Earth. In begging Hiroyuki to stay by her side, she realizes he's more important to her than she previously wanted to admit. After losing both of her parents, Jinnouchi, her tree friend, seeing most of her classmates killed and eaten in front of her and losing many more after after that, Hiroyuki is not only the person closest to her, but the closest thing she has to a parent which she acknowledges, in her own way.
  • Precision F-Strike: Kohana is very intelligent for a 15-year-old girl, interested in things like philosophy and astrophysics, but when it comes to confronting Wren about the sudden murder of her date, Kohana expresses herself like only a 15-year-old can:
    Wren: Oh, stop that. Your youth smells awful! Chubby babies and fluffy puppies. I want to vomit everything in my stomach.
    Kohana: Well, that's one thing we have in common. People will wonder what happened to Juniper, you frigid bitch!
  • Professional Killer: Hiroyuki describes himself as an assassin despite being kind, friendly, and everything contrary to what the general idea of an assassin is like. He insinuates a part of his job as an Advisor is to 'remove' those who prove to be too much for Kohana to defeat on her own.
  • The Quiet One: Isleen rarely speaks more than three words, and when she does she is either insulting Kohana or letting those in her company know how similar she is to Shadows in terms of bloodlust.
  • The Trees Have Faces: Wren's liminal space is called the Wood of Suicides, where those who kill themselves are transformed into gnarled, condemned and cursed trees. Each tree is representative of the sinner's own suicide and every tree is different. In a dark twist of their sin (violence against themselves) they can only speak and grieve when they are broken or damaged as punishment, and only for as long as their blood flows. Their original bodies are found in the branches of the tree, but this body is no more than a lifeless corpse. The trees also produce suicide fruit that place suicidal thoughts in the living. Wren loves to eat these fruits and prefers them above all others.
  • Skewed Priorities: Mildly put. Kohana is less worried about being killed by a Shadow and more worried about the fact that Hiroyuki won't help her defeat it.
  • Stand Your Ground: Hiroyuki tells Kohana this often. He does not hesitate to tell Kohana she is the only one who can save the Earth.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Hiroyuki reveals that he and his people are responsible for the destruction of countless universes, and that Kohana is a cosmic weapon meant to destroy them as well. She is horrified by this and lays into him.
    Kohana: Everything is your fault! All of it! The Shadow, the tree, whatever terrible thing that will inevitably happen to me because of your coming! You have ruined my life that fast!
  • Razor Floss: Kaede's spider web. She even has a Badass Boast about it.
    Kaede: My web is sharper than any blade. It slices through opponents of any form—immortal, invulnerable, incorporeal. It reaches every plane of existence. Metaphysical concepts such as time and space also prove no match for my web. Shield yourself and your comrades with your magic if you must, Summoner; my web destroys and negates conceptual defenses.
  • Refusal of the Call: Kohana initially refuses to accept her duty as the Summoner of Time by insisting she's a 'normal girl' with a 'normal life' living on a 'normal planet.' This is notable, considering up until that moment Kohana wanted to be everything but. After Hiroyuki convinces Kohana she will be a hero if she embraces her role, she reluctantly dons the title.
  • Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: Subverted. Kohana does not like Blaire and says she would leave her for dead if it came down to it. When Kaede attacks, Kohana throws herself in front of Blaire and asks if she is hurt.
  • Rich Bitch: Blaire's introduction consists of insulting the entire cast. She looks down on everyone, especially Kohana, and generally views those around her as incompetent. She does not hesitate to tell Kohana how rich she is, and even 'brags' about how she bought her position in the SOF. She goes on to mention she would never stoop so low as to fight like the rest of her kind, and is proud to announce she gets people to fight for her. She is upset when Hiroyuki, D'ivoire, Tasi and Vasche jump to protect Kohana from Kaede's attack and do not immediately try to save her, even though she managed to jump out of harm's way anyway.
  • Running Gag: Kohana cries in every chapter she appears in. This is because she is a Drama Queen and most of the other characters can’t stand it.
  • Shipper on Deck: No one ships Kohana and Isleen more than Masae. She admits she has been watching Kohana for a very long time, going as far as to videotape most of Kohana's encounters with Shadows. Despite Isleen helping Kohana whenever she feels like it, Masae has seen many of their interactions and has dubbed Isleen Kohana's Jerk with a Heart of Gold who treats her terribly but is secretly madly in love with her. Masae is also aware of Kohana's burning crush on Isleen, and expects them to become endgame after they've saved the multiverse.
    Masae: You and Isleen are really cute together! Have you guys had your first kiss together after surviving an incredibly dangerous fight? Or maybe you two kissed on accident and now you can't bare to look at each other again? When are you two getting married? Oh, I guess it wouldn't be until after you guys have saved the universe—or multiverse, I overheard someone saying—but I want to be the flower girl when you do get married! And the wedding planner! And the maid of honor!
  • Shoot the Dog: Hiroyuki not only shoots the dog, he erases it out of existence, much to Kohana's horror. He removes the memory of all those who died in the attack on Kohana's school, and states his reason for doing so is because the planet would self-destruct if those people were remembered. Immediately following the attack, Hiroyuki even said he would kill any survivors he came across. His new position as Jinnouchi's replacement put him in the perfect position to do so, and since we know he has no qualms with killing children it is implied he does exactly. Hundreds of teenagers, along with their teachers, are forgotten about as a result of Hiroyuki's actions. The parents of the children who passed away don't even remember having them.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Clotho is the single absolute most powerful being in existence. Assuming the All-Creator is still out there somewhere, it would be the most powerful being in and out of existence.
  • Time Master: Kohana is the Summoner of Time, her most basic attacks revolving around accelerating, slowing, stopping, rewinding, or looping time. When on the offensive, Kohana condenses time into a quasi-tangible form and utilizes it for more physical usage as opposed to controlling time itself. She can force time to move and stop at various rates, ride the flow to teleport through space and time, and even concentrate it into gateways/space-time rifts. Deflecting attacks at amplified velocity comes as easy as breathing to her, and she is capable of disintegrating her victims due to their bodies being unable to keep up with her condensed time.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Both Kohana and Hiroyuki fall under this. Kohana's case is more severe due to metal illness, with Hiroyuki flat out stating she is histrionic. When her feelings are hurt, which they often are, she will throw whoever hurt them under the bus to either make herself look like a victim or to protect her ego. This is blatant when it comes to Hiroyuki, in which she tries to convince readers there is nothing kind about him when he upsets her. This can be especially confusing considering Kohana praises his kindness when she is not taking his actions as imaginary slights. Hiroyuki lends readers more credibility in his narration, but there are still things that conflict with what he says that take place in the story. Hiroyuki says he is unable to empathize with Kohana, for example, but becomes frustrated on her behalf in his narration when it is revealed her teacher gained Kohana's trust and love only to use that against her.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Kohana takes a planet-shattering attack point-blank and survives it without a scratch. She then proceeds to take this attack multiple times with increased intensity and, again, remains unscathed. The Shadow decides to eat her after it realizes it can't hurt her, which backfires horribly and causes it to explode. After pulling itself back together, the Shadow turns itself into an infinite amount of bullets and shoots itself at her; she dodges every single one, allows the Shadow to get close to her, and freezes it in place with her time magic.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's impossible to talk about Kaede without giving her personality change and position as the umbrakinetic away.
  • We Have Reserves: The Commander has militarized his entire planet. Every Celestial Being on Spectra is a soldier, whether they choose to endure the Advisor Program or not. They are soldiers first, doctors, teachers, scientists, children and mothers second. He takes a detached, calculating approach in his interactions with other people, and sees people only for their usefulness, stripping them of their personhood and reducing them to tools. Because he has billions of soldiers at his disposal, he does not care about losing one, or hundreds for no discernible reason. He does not bat an eye when a member of the SOF is murdered by the umbrakinetic, and only mentions Tasi in order to manipulate Kohana.
  • Wicked Witch: Wren lives by herself in the middle of a forest, sporting drooping breasts, a braided beard, and rotting teeth. Her major prey consists of children and young women, but she will occasionally threaten to devour a man. She murders at will, and though we never learn how she does this, she has conceived daughters, who generally do her bidding. Animals venerate her, and she protects the forest as a mother-earth figure. Wren is dangerous and benevolent, a cannibal and a wise counselor.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Isleen is a shapeshifting wolf who has decided to make herself look as dainty and fragile as possible.
  • World's Strongest Man: As the chosen Advisor, Hiroyuki is the strongest soldier on Spectra.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Empress Xochiquetzal of Alraera is explicitly stated to be the most beautiful woman in her universe. This is further validated by her being deemed so by multiversal beings. The fact that she instantly falls head over heels over an older Kohana also speaks volumes of the latter's beauty as well.
    • Though a man, Hiroyuki also falls under this trope. He has Divine Level Beauty; the comparison to angels is made as early as chapter 1. His beauty affects the minds of all those who look at him. Kohana herself even mentions he's so beautiful that, for a moment, she would have done anything for him. She goes as far as to say she forgot her name as well, that's how potent his beauty is. Hiroyuki is so beautiful that he has the power to make any who looks upon him treat him like someone who is privileged—even if he doesn't hail from their world—and get anything he wishes for, being admired and even loved for it. His beauty makes complete strangers treat him like their closest friend in only a few minutes of meeting and be perfectly willing to help him in any way he needs.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Jinnouchi, who outright admits she is the one who orchestrated the attack on Kohana's school. Never mind the fact that she tries to break Kohana's neck while confessing to killing children.